Friday, June 7
MTC Week 2
Dobar dan everyone!
This morning we woke up early and went to the temple. It was really great. We went down and had breakfast in the temple cafeteria (because the MTC food is pretty awful), and stuffed ourselves with a yummy and fresh breakfast. As we were walking back down to the MTC I ran into my friend Matt Pierce and I almost started crying just because I was so happy. I love him! He dated my roommate Gabby for about a year and we were able to stop and talk for a bit. A goal that we have in our companionship is to verbalize when we feel that we are genuinely happy. Being outside, fresh out of the temple and walking and talking with my companions was truly one of those moments. We all can't stop smiling today!
This week has been great! It definitely has had it's ups and downs (the younger missionaries have started to show some of their younger personalities haha), but over all it's been great. Sunday was really special. I guess what they tell all the missionaries here is that if you can make it to Sunday, you'll be fine. I can see why-- we had so many conferences, videos, testimonies, meetings, just packed full of uplifting thoughts. We had sacrament meeting at 7:30 on Sunday morning and it's pretty strange at how easily I've adjusted to going to bed early and getting up early. It was a fast Sunday, so in testimony meeting we had the chance to hear from everyone in our zone. Everyone is so different and comes from really unique family backgrounds. I cannot believe some of the trials that some of these missionaries have had to go through. I know I said this last week, but I'm still in awe of them. I've come to realize (even though I knew this to some degree before) that even though we are all set apart as missionaries, we are still human and are fallible. We're going to make mistakes and say things incorrectly, or be frustrated with ourselves, but all we can do is try our best and the Lord will make up the rest. On Sunday we also had a mission conference where the MTC Presidency and their wives spoke to us. I guess Brad McMullin's former mission president, President Roach, is in the MTC mission presidency (he is such a phenomenal speaker), and I ran into him later this week and had a chance to talk with him. He is incredible.
My MTC teachers are all saints. They are so strong in the gospel and always seem to say exactly what I need to hear. And one of them is actually from St. Louis South Stake! Her name is Sister Black (now Jolley) and I really connect to her. She's so patient and makes me feel like I can learn this language, which is always a nice feeling. The sisters in my district are starting to feel overwhelmed. I feel so bad for them :( One of them had a birthday and broke down because she was feeling so lonely and just lives 5 minutes away from the MTC. I know it can be hard, especially in a language that we're completely butchering, but I know it will come little by little. I had a chance to bear my testimony to a few of the sisters in my district this week and I think they're doing a lot better. I'm grateful I haven't broken down or gotten too homesick, yet... mostly because I really do feel that I'm where I should be.
We just finished teaching our investigator, Juraj (who is actually just one of the MTC teachers, but was playing an investigator that he taught on his mission) and he committed to be baptized after our third lesson. We prepared and prayed a lot for our lessons with him, and we have two new investigators this week. I think we've gotten better at not reading out of our notebooks and being able to speak and bear testimony by the spirit. We obviously make silly language mistakes, but I've come to realize it's not always about what is said, but more about how you feel. I know I can't always remember what was said in every talk, but I can typically always remember distinct impressions and feelings that I had as a result of certain talks.
Mom, you'll be happy to know that we're learning both Serbian and Croatian 50/50, so we're working on the Cyrillic alphabet right now. So, Croatian and Serbian are supposed to be the same oral language, different written language, but there are a lot more differences than I thought. My brain often feels packed full of information, but my companions and I have started making up games to help us remember some vocab and conjugating tricks. We have a few SYL (speak your language) days coming up, so it'll be interesting to see how those go! Probably I will have to carry around my heavy Croatian dictionary all day haha.
I tried to find Natalie on Wednesday (we had gym time when she was supposed to be dropped off), so we jogged up and down the greeting walkway, trying to catch her. No luck! That night we heard that she was in a certain building, so we went there after we were done studying, and apparently, the sister that gave us that information was brand new and sent us over to an elders' dorm. We kept swiping our cards to get in until we finally figured it out. Whoops!
Also, I've kept up working out! We missed the 6am classes these past two days, but I've lost 3 pounds since being here. It feels good to be fit. You can do it, Mom! And yes, please send me some of the workouts that Jen has been doing-- she always knows where to find really good blog ideas!
Peter, thanks so much for your DearElder. Your letter really made me laugh especially about the food. I've been wary of the elders ever since you shared that bit of information haha. Thanks for all the sports updates! And I'm glad to hear your program is going well! You're going to be great! I don't have your e-mail address to respond, so if you send it to me, I'll get you a letter next week :)
Allison-- I don't have time to respond to you, either, but you're the sweetest! I love you so so much! Keep me posted on your workouts. You're an inspiration!
Steven, thank you so much for your DearElder! Have such an awesome time on high adventure-- I'm so jealous you are going boating!! Also, I heard you had a good time at Youth Conference? They always seemed to get better the older I got, too. I'm glad you had a chance to go :) Sorry, I can't respond to you personally this week, but getting your letter made me so happy. Thank you! I love you lots!
Mom, you are the best. I love you so much. Thank you for all the support you give me-- getting your letters throughout the week has meant the world to me and is just another affirmation that I can do this :) Please tell Aunt Michelle that I tried to call her a few times before I went into the MTC to wish Rachel a happy birthday, but for some reason it didn't go through. I'm glad you had a chance to make it out there for the Memorial Service and spend time with the Orgills. I sure do love you!